I just realized that for me, drawings are symbols / touchstones / hieroglyphs– they don’t tell all of the story, that’s what the words do.
Not only that, but they don’t have to show all of the story / information, either!
Here’s some insightful mirroring from my dear friend, Kelsi:
Don’t do realistic! Your gift is making the fantastical seem more real/relevant/truthful than Reality.
And a great example from Tom Gauld’s Instagram:
(He cartoons for the New Yorker, so clearly he’s not the only person who believes illustration doesn’t need to be photo-realistic to have value).
What I have always loved about oral storytelling is that I get to give suggestions of the characters, setting, lighting. The listener fills in the rest– which produces an experience better than any movie because it is collaborative, because the listener is making their own Magic.
Why on earth would a picture book be any different? Leave space for the reader’s Magic. (And don’t sweat the details).